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"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

Small Wars Journal publishes original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders in small wars. We also link you to relevant goings on elsewhere.  Login with your SWJ Username to comment, or Register, it's free. You can start your own threads in the Small Wars Council discussion board, but note that the board requires a separate Council Username. Follow SWJ on Twitter @smallwars.


by Tim Nichols | Sun, 08/02/2020 - 5:53pm | 0 comments
This paper discusses how our special operations professionals should transition from two decades of counter-terrorist operations to emerging great-power threats. Nichols argues that there are some significant areas of mis-alignment in terms of training and resources, and that senior leaders should address this.
by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker, by Juan Ricardo Gómez Hecht | Fri, 07/31/2020 - 6:40pm | 0 comments
On Monday, 20 July 2020, suspected members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) attacked a military police guards at a prison—la Peniteciaría Nacional de Támara—north of Tegucigalpa, according to the Instituto Nacional Penitenciaro (INP – National Penitentiary Institute). The attack, by prison inmates, involved firearms (assault rifles and pistols, as well as grenades). One sergeant received firearms injuries.
by Elina Driscoll | Sun, 07/26/2020 - 12:37pm | 0 comments
This paper explores the 1994-1996 Chechen War, which was the first large-scale military conflict involving post-Soviet Russia and played a crucial role in reshaping Russia's military and political strategy. The war, also known as the First Chechen War, resulted in the unexpected victory of Chechen insurgents, who managed to defeat the better equipped Russians due to their skillful use of guerrilla tactics, clever use of geography and urban warfare, and deep understanding of Russia's political and military vulnerabilities.
by Daniel Harris | Sat, 07/25/2020 - 10:06am | 0 comments
Although since 2009 the Pakistani military has partially shifted from its conventional force posture to a modern COIN approach in its conflict with the TTP insurgency, coercive tactics are still employed today. As a result of their initial tactics and current human rights abuses, the military succeeded in routing TTP strongholds but failed to address the insurgency’s root-grievances, alienating the population and ensuring post-conflict regional insecurity.
by Allyson Christy | Mon, 07/20/2020 - 9:07am | 2 comments
This paper analyses the timeframe of American manufacturing decline matched to China's rapid power gains against US economic and national interests and security vulnerabilities.
by Randy Noorman | Fri, 07/17/2020 - 10:29am | 0 comments
The battle of Debaltseve is the largest battle of encirclement in contemporary European military history. This article focuses on the composition of the Russian backed separatist forces, the units and equipment deployed, and subsequent proof of Russia’s military involvement in the conflict.
by Magdalena Defort | Tue, 07/14/2020 - 4:17pm | 0 comments
This assessment seeks to answer questions about how social programs run by Venezuela’s Chavista regime became a perfect mechanism for building a widespread international corruption network to benefit the president and his cronies. It examines the pivotal role played by foreign powers—i.e., Iran, and Turkey—in these clandestine illegal operations.
by John P. Sullivan, by José de Arimatéia da Cruz, by Robert Bunker | Sat, 07/11/2020 - 4:33pm | 2 comments
On 3 June 2020, Brazilian police in Greater São Paulo launched Operação Soldi Sporchi (Operation Dirty Money), serving search and arrest warrants against members of the First Capitol Command (Primeiro Comando da Capital – PCC). The PCC was alleged to have used medical and dental clinics to launder money earned from the gang’s drug trafficking activities and treat injured gang members to avoid detection by the police. The investigation also exposed corrupt connections to public officials and transnational links to the ‘Ndrangheta.
by Alexander Elfes | Fri, 07/10/2020 - 3:43pm | 0 comments
Lieutenant Alexander Elfes, Platoon Commander, 1st Military Police Battalion, Australian Army provides an overview of the May 2020 Warrant Officer Class 1 Ken Bullman OAM lecture series (KBLS) on 'Mexico's criminal Insurgencies" by Dr John P. Sullivan.
by Thomas Dyrenforth | Fri, 07/10/2020 - 8:20am | 0 comments
By increasing IMET opportunities for sub-Saharan African partners, the U.S. can counter Chinese influence by building interoperability with African militaries, strengthening strategic relationships, developing English language capacities, and promoting American values—all directly supporting U.S. security interests in Africa. This increased engagement is especially timely during a period of global power competition as other countries will gladly fill this void.

Blog Posts

by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 08/02/2020 - 12:30pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 08/02/2020 - 10:58am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sat, 08/01/2020 - 1:01pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sat, 08/01/2020 - 11:03am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by SWJ Editors | Sat, 08/01/2020 - 8:15am | 0 comments
A recent article discussing the need for a fundamental reorganization of US special operations forces by frequent contributor and senior fellow that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, COL(r) Dave Maxwell.
by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 07/31/2020 - 9:21am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 07/31/2020 - 8:39am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 07/30/2020 - 10:04pm | 0 comments
Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego has released the second edition of Organized Crime and Violence in Mexico. This 2020 Special Report was formerly known as Drug Violence in Mexico.
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 07/30/2020 - 8:55pm | 0 comments
By LTG Charles Cleveland and Daniel Egel for the RAND Corporation
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 07/30/2020 - 10:46am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 07/30/2020 - 10:22am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by SWJ Editors | Wed, 07/29/2020 - 7:54pm | 0 comments
RAND analysts David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla have released a new monograph, Whose Story Wins: Rise of the Noosphere, Noopolitik, and Information-Age Statecraft on their concept of noopolitik as a way forward for US grand strategy. Ronfeldt and Arquilla are veteran strategic analysts known for their works on information strategic and network theory.
by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 07/29/2020 - 11:27am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 07/29/2020 - 11:12am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 07/28/2020 - 1:56pm | 0 comments
A Roundup of the Day's News